SAN FRANCISCO, CA--(Marketwired - December 09, 2016) - Looking for the perfect gift for a loved one is like looking for a bug in a bog. There are millions and they're everywhere -- but which one is THE ONE? Travel is the one gift that cannot disappoint. It's a gift that can be shared and it's a gift that keeps on giving, if good will, renewed love and drawing smiles are important for this holiday season.
Wintering Where the Angels Breathe in Lake Tahoe
The Ritz-Carlton, Lake Tahoe, located mid-mountain at Northstar California Resort, is welcoming the season with some après-ski therapy. After a long day on the slopes, guests can have an Après-Ski Champagne Experience, offered daily from 3:00 p.m.to 5:00 p.m. by the resort fire pit, featuring Moët & Chandon Ice Impérial and a raw bar favorites. Après Yoga & Stretch classes are offered to heal tired muscles. And the Après-Ski Recovery treatment ($275 per person, duration 80 minutes) returns tight, aching muscles to peak condition. Families like the resort's signature Marshmology program, which takes place nightly at the fire pit from 4:30 to 5 pm. Wine lovers will want to join the Winter Vintner Dinner Series ($125 per person), offered at 6:30 p.m. on January 12, February 9 and March 9 with four courses paired with Northern California selections. Foodies will like the Manzanita Chef's Tasting Counter (starting at $115 per person), offered nightly from 5:30 to 8 pm.
For a unique winter evening activity, the Winter Stargazing Snowshoe Tour ($63 per adult, $45 per child ages 10 to 12, plus $21 snow shoe rental fee) is available on December 21, December 28, January 14 and February 11 (5:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.).
Rates: The ski-in/ski-out resort has access to Northstar Ski Resort where lift tickets run $111 for an adult day pass. Rooms at The Ritz-Carlton, Lake Tahoe vary from a starting rate of $250 to more than $600 a night for the same room in winter high season. Rooms are cozy with luxury amenities all around and gas fireplaces.
Contact: (800) 241-3333 www.ritzcarlton.com/LakeTahoe
Bali Calling: Irresistibly-Priced Packages
When it's time to think warm, think Bali and know a rock bottom priced 11-day Exotic Bali package can save the day. The package includes round-trip air on China Airlines, taxes, fuel surcharges, fabulous hotels, daily breakfast and many other meals, all ground transportation, sightseeing tours and a professional English-speaking guide.
Visitors can experience a totally different culture, while also enjoying a sun-splashed beach vacation -- and all for less than one might spend for a Hawaii or Caribbean vacation. The trip starts with five nights in Bali's cultural capital, the picturesque hill town of Ubud, in the stylish boutique resort Alaya Ubud.
Balinese Hinduism, the predominant religion here, shapes much of the island's life and culture with thousands of temples and shrines. There is a Monkey Forest that's home to three holy monkey temples. A visit to a coffee plantation, as well as the Mother Temple, lunch on the edge of a volcano caldera and spending a day in a village with welcoming locals are also on the itinerary.
Then guests spend four nights at the Melia Bali Resort in Nusa Dua, with its white sandy beaches, warm shallow waters
Rates: 11-days inclusive for $1,899, with air from New York or San Francisco ($200 more from Los Angeles). Two post-trip options are offered as well: a 4-day stopover in Singapore, with its exciting cuisine and great shopping ($599 per person) or a 3-day Stopover in Taiwan, known for its wonderful cuisine and a world-class museum ($220 per person).
Contact: (866) 652-5656 www.worldspree.com
Skiing in Switzerland: Alpina Gstaad Package
The Alpina Gstaad is the newest luxury hotel to open in 100 years in the Swiss Alpine village of Oberbort and is launching a new uber-luxe ski and snowboard package for this winter season. The four-day, three-night Adrenalin + Zen experience includes a helicopter ride from Saanen over the picturesque Bernese Oberland countryside and landing on top of a glacier for a day of off piste skiing or snowboarding along the 9,727-foot altitudes with a private guide.
Dates: Available through March 19, 2017
Rates: Expect to pay around US $3,285 per person, double occupancy. The rate covers the ski instructor, a 30-minute helicopter trip and limo transfers, luxury lunch bag, the spa treatment and accommodations in a Deluxe Room, daily breakfast, a culinary credit of CHF 100 per person daily (for the hotel's restaurants: Sommet -- a Michelin-starred restaurant, MEGU and Swiss Stübli), all taxes, service and VAT. It does not include airfare. The hotel has a bar and lounge, wine-tasting room, private cinema, and cigar lounge for après-ski relaxation.
Contact: +41 33 888 98 www.thealpinagstaad.ch
Trout Fishing in South America
Frontiers International Travel has an extreme luxury heli-fishing adventure that employs a helicopter for trout fishing in South America. Based at Lakutaia Lodge, anglers will fish the southernmost rivers of Chilean Patagonia in the UNESCO Cape Horn biosphere reserve on remote Navarino Island. The trip includes a night at the historic Hotel Jose Nogueira in Punta Arenas, round-trip lodge charter, and all fly-out fishing in one of the world's most unique locales.
Dates: This eight-day package is available January 15-April 15.
Rates: Starting at $7,600 per person. Custom group quotes are available, with only nine fly-out anglers allowed per week.
Contact: 800-245-1950 www.FrontiersTravel.com/lakutaia-lodge
Immersing in Maui at the Four Seasons
Stay at the Four Seasons Maui, fresh from an extensive, two-year, floor-to-ceiling upgrade that brings sleek furnishings, contemporary artworks, and new room designs. The property's 383 guest rooms and suites can now recombine into one- to four-bedroom configurations.
The property has also introduced a new concept in its guest experience called the "Unforgettable Experiences" collection, which include a Kona Coffee Helicopter Tour, a Maui Photo Adventure, Serenity Pool After Hours experiences, and a Whale Watch Photo Excursion.
Rates: Start at $600 per night in low season and usually double that amount in high season.
Contact: (808) 874-8000 www.fourseasons.com/maui
Sleep inside a Work of Art at The Beaumont, London
At The Beaumont, Antony Gormley's ROOM is both a monumental figural sculpture and an architectural extension to the hotel. Combine a stay in this extraordinary space with breakfast and a one-on-one contemporary art tour of London, devised by SideStory and designed around your personal interests. The Beaumont is located on a quiet garden square, close to the luxury shops, galleries and museums of Mayfair, St James's and the West End. Grand in style yet intimate and welcoming, its design is inspired by the great Art Deco hotels of the 1920s.
Rates: From $500 a night. Sleep in the Gormley ROOM for $2000.
Contact: (+44 20) 7499 1001 www.thebeaumont.com
Havana Beach Vacation
Short on time but long to see Cuba before it changes? InsightCuba, a pioneer and leader in people-to-people travel to Cuba, has launched a four-day Varadero + Havana vacation package, which features the island's most popular beach destination and its historic capital city over an easy-to-book long weekend. Bimonthly departures run through April 2018.
With the winds of U.S. politics quickly changing and Cuba anxious to modernize, visiting Cuba now is more important than ever. The door could close once again.
With the day trip to Havana included, the itinerary differs from others in that it features a number of optional excursions so travelers can choose their own adventures.
From Varadero's Juan Gualberto Gómez Airport, participants will check into the Meliá Varadero beach resort, before setting off on day two to Cardenas, a small town just south of Varadero, for a visit to the farmers market, a sugar cane museum and an ecological reserve full of hiking trails and colorful flora and fauna. They will see Columbian pictographs and 2000-year-old burial plots inside a local cave as well.
On day three, guests drive to the coast and explore Havana. A walking tour of Old Havana, a splendid UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the best examples of preserved Spanish-Colonial architecture, is followed by sightseeing in Centro Havana, Vedado, and Miramar. Next is a scenic ride along the iconic Malecón and a stop at the historic Hotel Nacional for world- famous mojitos and spectacular views. Last, visitors will see Finca Vigía, home of author Ernest Hemingway, before dinner at an authentic Cuban restaurant and a return to Varadero for the night. Day four is for travelers to enjoy at leisure.
Rates: Starting at $1,995 per person, double occupancy (single occupancy is +$700) and includes most meals and activities. Airfare is extra, but becoming more available through commercial carriers.
Contact: (800) 450-CUBA www.insightcuba.com
Retreat to the Heat this Winter
Feel the heat this winter in an untouched stretch of paradise. With a Phulay Bay, a Ritz-Carlton Reserve in Krabi, Thailand on the Andaman Sea. At Phulay Bay, pursuits abound as guests can explore the waters and nearby islands wonders by luxury yacht, venture through the mangrove jungle on a kayak expedition, immerse in Thai culture at the nearby Wat Bang Rieng Temple and dive in for some exquisite warm water discoveries.
On property, guests can practice yoga under the stars, indulge in a soothing Thai Herbal Infusion Ritual or Aromatherapy massage treatment at The Spa, learn to cook traditional Thai dishes with a cooking class or lounge in a day bed by the pool.
Dates: Through mid-April, guests can enjoy sunshine all winter long with Phulay Bay's Winter Getaway Package and receive 25 percent savings on seasonal rates. (January 6-25 and February 5 through April 17)
Rates: Rates begin at $470 USD based on single or double occupancy.
25 percent savings on rates (3 night minimum stay)
Daily breakfast for two in Jampoon restaurant
24-hour dedicated butler service
Special welcome amenity
Complimentary soft drinks in minibar
Contact: (877) 231-7916 www.ritzcarlton.com/phulaybay
Sleep Under the Northern Lights
Northern Lights travel specialists, Off the Map Travel, offers couples a chance to cozy up together beneath the most magnificent sky show on the planet. Couples stay in an "Aurora Bubble Sled," a glass-roofed, mobile hotel room, towed by a snowmobile that follows the Aurora Borealis in Finland. The Aurora Bubble Sled package is part of a four-day, three-night Lapland Aurora program in Finland. Guests hunt for the Northern Lights within the warmth of the "bubble" in the Finnish wilderness. The Aurora Bubble Sled is filled with bean bags, reindeer skins and a sleeping kit, and is mounted on the back of a snowmobile fortowing deep into the Arctic night. It also has thermostat-controlled heating system for added comfort. Kilpisjärvi, Finland is one of the top places in the world to see the majestic Aurora Borealis as it is famed for its rugged, unspoiled Arctic wilderness. The package can be combined with the four-day Tromso Experience, where guests stay in a waterfront hotel and enjoy a wilderness snowmobile safari, the chance to explore Tromso with its world-class restaurants, and a Northern Lights dinner cruise.
Dates: December through the winter
Rates: The Bubble Sled package starts at $1,382 per person, based on double occupancy with all meals, but excluding flights. Included are private transfers from Tromso (Norway) and activities including Northern Lights hunting; use of the outdoor hot tub and sauna; and a night staying in the new Aurora Bubble Sled. For the Tromso Experience add-on begins at $1,100 per person.
Contact: +44 (0) 800 566 8901 firstname.lastname@example.org www.offthemaptravel.co.uk
You Can Take it with You
What you take and what you take it in can be as important as where you are going and how you are getting there. To make the going all the more smooth, pack a TSA friendly carry-on bag that will make sure your electronics and valuables get there safely, snug and charged. The Sparrow II Limited Edition Wheeled Garment Bag from ecbc keeps all your carry-on items organized and ready for the long-haul, whether you are off to a weekend away or a world away for business or pleasure. Smart, handsome, compact, TSA- and Security checkpoint-friendly, at $399, the ecbc Sparrow II Wheeled Garment Bag makes the going all the easier and the gift-giving all the more valuable to a loved one or friend.
Contact: (951) 894-1482 www.ec-bc.com
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